One of the many benefits of taking part in the Hospice program is mobility. Patients in most nursing homes, in some assisted living centers and hospitals, are under lock and key. In many cases, this policy is to protect patients from the dangers of being in the general population.
Hospice patients are encouraged to take part in life. It almost goes without saying that patients have to be ambulatory and well enough to be out and about. When I first came to Hospice I was amazed to learn that we actually had snowbirds in the program. Hospice patients would avoid our tough winters by traveling to warmer climates…we just transfer them to a sister Hospice. Patients happily return to Syracuse when Spring finally arrives.
So many people believe Hospice care is all about dying. Death is only one day in the Hospice program. Our mission is to make this time the best it can be. Our doctors and nurses are experts when it comes to pain and symptom management. Our social workers and bereavement counselors can help patients cope with their final journey.
We recently had a patient who had one unchecked item on his bucket list. The gentleman was a country & western music fan and he always wanted to take in a show at the Grand Ole Opry. Now that he was in Hospice he thought he would never get to Nashville. His Hospice nurse consulted with his healthcare team and it was decided that a weekend trip to Tennessee would be possible. In his wheelchair and with a portable oxygen tank, he and his family had a wonderful night at the Opry.
Trips to Florida and the Grand Ole Opry are well…pretty grand. For most of our patients, Hospice care offers them the opportunity for some quality time with the people and things they love best and that’s what really matters to them and to us.